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Jessica Claire

Jessica Claire

Tuesday, 09 April 2013 08:59

The Climb and The Fall

Follow my blogging journey here

When you fall back into that spiral of anxiety (yet) again, give yourself time to get your strength back, and then step back into the battle again.

No matter how often you fall, you will always get through and you will be able to start again.

Sometimes it feels like you can't possibly keep trying to beat it. It will always get the better of you eventually, and to an extent, it's true. We can never be completely rid of anxiety, but we can learn to manage it, and in doing so, we can live our lives more 'normally' and achieve things we really want to achieve.

Of course, I'm not a professional, and who am I to be giving advice. To be honest, I am giving this advice to myself. I fall backwards regularly, and each time I get depressed and convince myself that I will never be able to do anything, that I can never beat it, and that it's just not worth even trying anymore. Yet everytime, I slowly get out of that spiral (and yes, it can take a couple of months or more), and pick myself up, and start again.

It really is a case of, 2 steps forward, 1 step back - and sometimes, it can be more like 4 steps back. But at least each time I try again, I make even a little progress. I hope that you are too. If you feel like you aren't, try making small goals when you are on the way up, for instance, mine are often as small as "I will arrange to have coffee with a friend", or "I will go into the supermarket and buy something", at the start. But quickly they grow from that and I find myself making bigger goals, such as "I'm going to blog to the world about my social anxiety" and "I'm going to organise a cabaret so that I can practise performing", which (incidentally), make me equally as happy as the small goals did when I achieved them.

I'm under no illusion that I will fall again, probably in the near future. But while I am on the up, I will make those forward steps as big as I can, so that when I do fall, I have less far to climb back.

Saturday, 09 February 2013 04:36

Anxiety hits new high...or low

Three weeks ago, I found out that I was pregnant.

Now, this is a great thing, don't get me wrong. 

But that doesn't change the fact, that I am simply terrified!

The day before I found out, I was discharged by my anxiety counsellor as I had reached a good place and had plans in place to manage further anxiety and depression, then WHAMMO! Here is something new and scary for you to deal with. Needless to say, my doctor instantly referred me back to them - "the quickest relapse in history" I joked on the phone to her.

I am dealing with many weird feelings that I can't control. On the one hand, I am extremely excited to be a mum. On the other hand, I am pretty convinced that I am going to be in a state of panic for most of the pregnancy, and won't be able to cope. I am afraid of what my medications will do to the baby, I am afraid that I can't cope with morning sickness, that I will be anxious non stop for nine months, that I wil be the one woman in the history of the planet who cannot physically manage being pregnant, let alone the labour at the end.

In short, I want to be knocked out now, and woken up when it's over.

But what am I even worried about? Pregnancy is a joyous time, with glowing skin and happy anticipation, everyone congratulates you and comments on how happy you must be. I smile and agree, but on the inside I am crumbling in the knowledge that I have lost control of my body for the meantime, that waves of nausea will hit me without notice, that I am sore, and tired and hungry and generally just constantly afraid, but I don't mention this. Because then I sound like a bad mum-to-be.

I was originally blogging about my journey towards producing an album and my experiences with going public about my depression and anxiety. But for now, I think this is bigger. I have searched for blogs or information about being pregnant and having an anxiety disorder and how to cope, they are few and far between. So for the meantime, I will vent on here, and hopefully someone else who understands will comment and make me feel better, or even better - someone else in my situation will gain a little bit of encouragement that they are not alone.

Thursday, 17 January 2013 07:45

Taking it Slow

Learning to take little steps is a huge step towards recovery from social anxiety disorder. Yep, it's true! Weird as that may sound. It is logical though, although it may seem as though you are simply enabling the anxiety for a long time. But think about it, if you constantly put yourself in the most anxiety provoking situation you can, and then panic, you are only building up a great evidence base that that situation Will ALWAYS make you panic. It took me ages to learn this, and I used to always beat myself up because I hadn't managed a situation as well as I 'should' have.

I hated the fact that I couldn't eat out. Couldn't go to parties. Couldn't sing in public. Because as far as I was concerned, I SHOULD be doing all those things, without ANY anxiety whatsoever!

This is simply not the case.

It works like this.

The more you force yourself into situations which you aren't ready to manage, the more evidence you have that you CAN'T manage them.

The littler steps you take, the less likely you are to panic.

The more little steps you succeed in taking without panicking, the bigger backlog of evidence you have to prove that you CAN manage your anxiety.

Once you have this evidence that you can manage your anxiety in little steps, then you can slowly move on to a bigger little step.

Keep doing this, until you finally reach a point where you are happy.

Sure, this can take years! But the moral of this blog is - Slow and Steady Wins the Race!

Don't let anyone push you into a situation you aren't ready to deal with!

Follow more of my own journey with little steps (which are becoming bigger) at or @jessicaclaire85


Sunday, 06 January 2013 01:07

Putting in the work

Coming to the realisation that getting better from Social Anxiety Disorder was going to involve more than a quick fix, was the first real step I came to in finally starting to recover.

I was 22 or 23 when I made that decision, and I'd had severe S.A.D since I was 11. For years, although I knew something was wrong, and that I was far more 'nervous' of doing things than other people, I refused to listen to people telling me that I had to work hard to fix the problem. I honestly thought it would just eventually go away. That I'd 'get over it'. That one day I simply wouldn't have to deal with it any more.

For my entire time at high school I played the avoidance game. I became very good at giving excuses, making up little 'white lies', being 'sick' at invonvenient times or just not doing things. My friends and family came to simply 'accept' that that's what I did. It stopped seeming weird. In fact, if I had done something different, they probably would have made a big deal out of it - which maybe made me even less likely to try and change.

It wasn't until I'd dished out big money for a university degree only to find myself unable to sit in a lecture theatre without nearly fainting or vomiting that I finally started to accept I might need help. 

Sure - I'd seen counsellors galore up until then, but leaving home meant that now I had to face up to some realities. 

It's not normal to feel nauseas upon entering a supermarket.

It's not normal to be unable to breathe during a movie just because you aren't on the edge of an aisle.

It's not normal to be unable to eat 3 weeks before a performance (the day of, sure, but three weeks?).

It's not normal to lock yourself in your dorm room because you can't face interacting with your flatmates friends.

When I decided I wanted to be a teacher, I had to make a serious choice. I got offered a place on an intensive three week cognitive behavoural therapy group course for sufferers of Social Anxiety, but in order to do it, I had to quit my job.

So I quit my job.

I thought "I didn't really need to go on it", that "I wasn't bad enough to be in cluded in their group", that "this was only a way of helping make me cope with speaking in front a class".

But when I got there, it was clear that I was one of the worst.

I cried twice and had three panic attacks on the first day, and went home refusing to go back.

But I did go back, and it was hard. But it did help. Just not immediately. 

Three years later, I am back in their clinic after relapsing. Seeing the same amazing clinician who is teaching me to slowly change my thought processes. To view panic as something that isn't dangerous, but just is. Learning that I will never fully be 'free' from anxiety, that if I were, that would in fact be a bad thing. That this process of 'overcoming' anxiety simply means learning to manage it better. No longer letting it rule you - but allowing you to have the skills to rule IT a little more.

There is no quick fix for anxiety and depression. It takes a lot of hard work. But it is So worth it.

Contact me and follow more of my journey and song writing project here.


Thursday, 27 December 2012 03:14

Social Anxiety Blogger

"Too many of us are not living our dreams, because we are too busy living our fears." Les Brown

Recently, I started blogging about my social anxiety disorder. I also started posting some original songs online. 

My original thought - YIKES!

As someone who has suffered from severe social anxiety disorder since the age of 10, the idea of blogging about it seemed like an interesting dillemma. Yes - I would love to get my story out there, if only because I myself would have gained a lot from reading it when I was younger. But No - I can't put myself out there, everyone will judge me, and who am I to think that anyone will care, people will just think I'm full of it and be annoyed.

At the end of the day, probably very few people will even know that it's out there. Yes, a lot of my friends have been suddenly enlightened to the fact that this disorder even exists, but on the upside, they now understand why I usually have an excuse not to go to their parties, and maybe, just maybe one or two of them have recognised the same traits in themselves and may look at others in a new light.

I am a singer, and I love to sing and write music, but until this past month, I have NEVER let anyone hear what I write, let alone put it online for all to access. I guess though, that I've come to a point where I've managed to conquer the worst of the social part of my anxiety (through years of intensive CBT sessions), and am now using blogging as a tool to keep myself moving forward, to chase my dreams and to actually do things that make me happy, and (try) not to care what anyone else thinks. After all, we all have hobbies and weird things that make us happy, so why should I have to keep mine hidden when everyone else is out there doing what they do?

I'm certainly not saying that I intend to be famous - I actually dread that - I think I dread success from my music (and now the little voice in my head is saying - "you narcissistic arrogant girl to even be contemplating such an outcome).

So my blogs on this fabulous site, will be about how I'm coping on my journey to finally achieve my dreams in spite of anxiety and panic.

Would love to have feedback on wether anyone else out there is getting anything postive from what I write, but at the same time, that's not the reason I'm doing this. 


Tuesday, 03 April 2012 06:22

end of term 1

Nearly the end of the first term at my new job. Feeling completely exhausted but pretty good on the whole. I haven't had many anxious moments since getting back from the states, but perhaps having a routine is helping?

I am beating myself up quite a bit about not exercising enough, I feel like I 'should' be doing more which is apparently not a good thing. Stil haven't heard from the ADU, and not sure how I'll be able to make it to any appointments anyway.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012 06:37

first entry

Had this stupid anxiety for so many years now, it's just a part of me. But I've tried so many things to get past it, and it still comes back to haunt me. Today I said No to someone regarding some work they wanted me to do on sunday. I said I didn't know it was this sunday, and that I couldn't do it. They said 'yes you did, but ok.' All I can think about it the 'yes she did' part and I feel like i've done something really wrong, or let people down. I feel sick in my stomach about it. :( wish I could not care about it.

Also - the other night we went to the hunger games at the cinema for the first time since before the december quakes, and I spent most of the film in a high state of anxiety, had to leave just before it started as i felt like i was about to totally panic. I had a lorazapam and felt terrible about that, then couldn't stop thinking about earthquakes. 

I feel like ive had so much anxiety in so many forms, and so many panic attacks that I can't keep moving forward. I've almost decided to give up on my love of theatre and singing as the anxiety I get before and during a performance is just not worth it.  I guess I'm hoping this site will be an outlet for support or something. I've seen so many therapists, and tried so much medication and anxiety programmes and yet still I have to deal with this amount of it all the time!!!

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We are a community of people struggling with mental health issues, you are not alone!